Eliphas Levi

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Eliphas Levi

Post by Nefastos »

As I mentioned in our Mahatma Letters reading group, now in its happy ending, I have recently be reading Blavatsky's letters to A.P. Sinnett. In one of these, there's a funny & perhaps useful mention to Eliphas Levi:
Blavatsky wrote:Explain to you "a little more about Eliphas Levi"? And what the deuce do I know about him? I never saw him. All I know is what I was told. He was a most learned and erudite theoretical Kabalist and occultist. But who ever told you he was a practical adept? Not I. He himself says in his works that he never performed ceremonial magic but once in London evoking Apollonius of Tyana. He was a Roman Catholic Priest — hence his filth and dirt. He had been starved on fasting when in the Order — hence his gluttony and intemperance. In his books he tries to make the esoteric doctrine fit in with R. Catholicism — just as the "fair Anna" [Kingsford] does now (and you will rue the day, unless the Chohan can, or rather will consent to break her.) That there is much esotericism in real Catholic Christianity is quite true; but there is still more of fictitious, artificial interpretations. Yet his learning and knowledge were undoubted, and for any one versed in Esotericism his writings are those of a recognised authority — in their theoretical teachings. Of himself he could say: "Do as I tell you, not as I do." I have never heard before that he was so dirty and gluttonous. But if Mrs. Gebhard says so — she knows better, for I have never met him. My aunt went to see him in Paris and she had a bad impression for he took 40 francs for one minute of conversation and explanation of the Tarrot cards. Boss says — that he was a regular doug-pa with the knowledge of a gelukpa.

Blavatsky's sectarianist views are clearly shown here, when she once again directly uses the Buddhist dugpa (doug-pa) sect as a synonyme for the path of descension (here sensual selfishness) & the gelukpa sect as for the path of ascension (here something that has true spiritual knowledge on occultism). The terminology is a bit more understandable when Blavatsky's "boss" is the source of this information, the said boss (Morya) himself being a Tibetan Buddhist.

Speaking of Blavatsky & Levi in the forum whose readers might be more interested in death and Satan, here is a convenient article:

Eliphas Levi: Death and Satan (commented by Koot Hoomi, starting from page 292).

And yes, before someone points out, I remember that our... dear friend Aleister Crowley considered himself as the incarnation of Levi. :)
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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